With his last vice president seemingly gearing up for his own White House run, Donald Trump is now sifting through binders full of MAGA women to find his next running mate. Rather than choose a safe and conventional option, as he did in 2016, Trump appears intent on running with a loyalist this time––someone who, unlike Mike Pence, would walk into the fires that he will inevitably spark instead of trying not to get burned themselves.
Atop the former president’s 2024 VEEP list, which was detailed in a Daily Beast report Thursday, are GOP representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik, both of whom have been steadfast defenders of his since he left office.
At present, Greene seems to be the most viable option on the reported list, despite (or by virtue of) her long track record of outrageous remarks and incidents. The Georgia Republican, who is riding high after championing Kevin McCarthy in his hard-fought victory for the Speaker’s gavel, has been one of the biggest fundraisers for Republicans in the House since winning the election in 2020. And thanks to her speeches at Trump rallies, she is already a fan favorite among the MAGA faithful. If the plan for Trump’s third presidential run is to simply lean in, then allying with Greene would accomplish that.
As for Stefanik, her conservative credentials are less solid. Despite being a noted Trump critic in the 2016 election and early in his presidency, the New York lawmaker has since remade her image by zealously linking herself to Trump. Case in point: She was the very first House member to endorse his 2024 campaign after serving as his congressional guard dog during both of his impeachments.
Another potential name floated in the Daily Beast report was Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman turned Fox News contributor who likely caught Trump’s notice during her many appearances on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Suffice it to say, choosing Gabbard—an Army Reserves officer who rose to national prominence after a short-lived run in the last Democratic primary election—would be highly surprising.
What wouldn’t be, however, is South Dakota governor Kristi Noem. The Republican became a rising star on the right thanks to various red meat stunts she pulled during the pandemic, including her use of COVID-19 relief funds to promote tourism in South Dakota in the middle of a case surge. She also questioned the usefulness of masks and social distancing and followed Trump’s lead after he falsely hawked hydroxychloroquine as a possible miracle drug.
But even with her growing name recognition, Noem still governs a relatively small state that would already go for Trump in a general election, which runs contrary to conventional wisdom on choosing a vice president who could cast a wider net.
Last among the parade of possibles is Kari Lake, the former local news anchor and failed GOP candidate for governor. She has never served in public office but easily won the gubernatorial primary in Arizona last year thanks to a Trump endorsement. After losing a tight race in November, she has spent weeks pumping crackpot election-fraud theories rather than conceding––a track record that is not likely to win over any moderates or make a splash big enough to appease Trump’s detractors on the right.
It should be noted that Trump mulling over vice picks this early in the primary stage is odd. He has yet to build strong operations in key primary states and has spent the weeks since his announcement hunkered down in Florida. Also, candidates typically seek out a running mate when it becomes clear that they actually have a solid platform to run on—and right now, Trump’s platform is about as solid as a square of Jell-O.
Read More: Donald Trump Is Reportedly Considering Running Mates—And Marjorie Taylor Greene Is on